Bespoke training is widely accepted as a necessary evil: effective training will improve the performance of your staff, improve your staff turnover rates and reduce the likelihood of accidents, but it can be costly. Below are five methods which can help ease the financial burden of such important tools.
The first step is to do a thorough analysis and evaluation of needs and employee feedback to determine which elements of your current training strategy or offer are actually vital. Perhaps even check how successful training is/ has been through quizzes, employee surveys or other assessment methods, afterwards as part of your analysis and evaluation to determine how much they are actually learning from them.
Once you have such an understanding, you can identify areas where elements can be consolidated into smaller sessions and which can be dropped. Many bespoke training providers offer consultants to help coordinate such efforts with what they have to offer. The more information and ideas you have about what you actually needthe clearer you can be when purchasing such training, as well as being able to cut down on the amount you require.
There are two main types of collaborative training. The first is where your employees use the internet to access what is often referred to as ‘crowd support’ which can be through forums and discussion threads through your own intranet or network, allowing and encouraging employees from every part of your organisation to ask questions and support each other. As well as aiding in developing employee’s knowledge, it can have the added advantage of fostering employee relationships and a more positive working environment. It can be time consuming and costly to set up if you don’t have anything already in place, but once up-and-running it can be supported and monitored by your IT team at very little cost.
Or they can access public forums such as through LinkedIn Groups, which allows your employees to access the expertise of colleagues within your organisation and in others. This can help reduce error costs, increase staff productivity, increase self-sufficiency and confidence and also be networking aid.
The second method is face-to-face collaboration where your organisation, or a group of employees within your organisation, work with a group from another organisation who have similar training needs, thereby allowing them to share knowledge and expertise with a wider range of people and cutting training costs as the training will be shared by the two groups/ organisations. For example, a group of your employees are being targeted for management training. A similar organisation has employees with a similar training need and so you decide to team up and work collaboratively, sharing the costs but doubling the productivity and effectiveness of the training.
By employing in-house options such as job-shadowing and mentoring, you can cut down massively on those onboarding training costs. Such options also have other benefits as well, for example, providing hands-on training by those experienced members of your organisation, which also helps new employees to become more comfortable with their peers and work environments faster. It may also help ease the stress and feelings of being overwhelmed which often accompany the first few days in a new job. While it is likely that such a method will not replace structured onboarding training completely, it will soften it, be a more supportive method and reduce the costs of the structured training which is required.
It’s also possible to produce your own training materials which can help cut down on the number of training sessions you need to host or send employees to, as they can access them anywhere at any time. They’re also likely to be more tailored and targeted to the role and needs of your employees and will be They can also be re-accessed easily for revision purposes.
Another option is training and supporting members of your staff to become subject-matter experts capable and interested in transferring their skills and knowledge to others. Ideally, such experts become in-house instructors who are easily able to adapt their knowledge to your needs and give helpful and highly-relevant examples to support learning. This method, along with mentoring, has the add-on effect in cultivating a sense being needed which could be a catalyst in that employee’s development in terms of confidence and leadership skills. It could also encourage renewed loyalty to the workplace and your organisation.
Video can be an extremely useful training tool as well as a way to cut training costs. As with bespoke training sessions held with an instructor, training videos can be made to order too and tailored to your needs. They also have the added benefit that they can appeal to a number of learning styles, which is extremely useful for employees that don’t learn well sat still listening to someone for a length of time, particularly as they can pause it and rewind as well as take things at their own pace. It is also more engaging that text-based resources and therefore can be more effective.
Technological advances have had a major impact on training methods with a whole host of online and e-learning alternatives. You can have employees take part in webinars and web-conferencing sessions, which lets them access the training and has the same interactive element allowing them opportunities to ask questions and receive on-the-spot feedback, but without having to pay for travel expenses or instructor costs. This also allows training to occur in multiple locations at once, meaning employees in different workplaces or areas of the country can take part in the same training at the same time.
E-learning offers a range of multimedia and interactive training methods which can lead to more effective knowledge/ skill set acquisition and retention in employees. Such an example is synchronous learning, where employees attend live online events but also receive the benefits of being able to talk with an instructor through instant messaging or video conferencing software. They still have the ability to raise questions and concerns, and instructors can help them through bits and encourage them to participate in discussions and activities. In fact, it is possible that for some of your employees this is a more effective method if they are more socially-anxious or less confident and don’t like speaking up in front of groups. The medium of the computer can ease some of this pressure and encourage them to access training more efficiently.
This article has hopefully highlighted how streamlining and rethinking your strategy can help cut the costs of training your staff effectively, without cutting quality. Using a mix of training methods, bespoke and those produced in-house, can help ensure all staff needs and learning styles are met.